ARLINGTON, Texas (KXAN) — Second guessing coaching decisions after a playoff loss has become a rite of passage for the Dallas Cowboys.
Head coach Mike McCarthy is under fire after the Cowboys came out flat in the first half and botched a last-second chance to pull off a comeback win against San Francisco in the NFL wild card round Sunday. The 23-17 loss to the 49ers can only be considered a failure.
Dallas’ home-field advantage at AT&T Stadium was eliminated almost immediately as San Francisco built a 13-0 lead in the first half. Dak Prescott couldn’t generate a consistent passing attack as his offensive line struggled to protect him against the relentless 49ers pass rush.
Players win games, coaches lose games — that’s how the adage goes. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked about McCarthy’s job status after the Cowboys’ season abruptly ended short of expectations. Jones said a coaching change isn’t in the cards for his franchise.
“I don’t even want to discuss anything like that at this particular time. That’s not on the table. The game speaks for itself,” Jones said according to NFL.com.
McCarthy is 18-16 in two seasons with Dallas. His first year (2020) couldn’t be salvaged after Prescott’s season-ending injury aided in the Cowboys’ 6-10 regular season record.
In an interview with Dallas sports radio station 105.3 The Fan Monday, Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones said McCarthy would “absolutely” return next season.
Whether McCarthy’s coordinators will return is a much bigger unknown. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore are expected to interview for NFL head coaching jobs this offseason.
McCarthy defended Prescott’s quarterback draw in the final seconds of the game with the Cowboys trailing 23-17.
With the clock at 14 seconds in the fourth quarter, Prescott decided to run the ball in the middle of the field. The Cowboys were out of timeouts, and Prescott was tackled in bounds at the 49ers’ 24-yard line, meaning the clock kept moving after the play.
Prescott hurried to get the team in place, but the official has to spot the ball before the next play can start. Time ran out before the official could get the ball set, ending the game.
Dallas hasn’t reached the NFC Championship round in 27 years.